BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ founder/CEO and creator/executive producer of the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Awards on BET, Beverly Bond, teamed up with Google to continue her mission to empower the next generation of girls.
On Saturday, April 2, 2016 at 10 a.m., the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Day of Service, Beverly Bond and Google’s MADE WITH CODE co-produced the inaugural GIRLS ROCK! TECH Summit at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, NJ. The program invited 100 girls ages 13-17 from Newark, NJ and the surrounding tri-state to participate in fun and engaging coding workshops lead by MADE WITH CODE, two STEAM-career panels curated by BLACK GIRLS ROCK! and several other surprise guest speakers.
In attendance was an extraordinary group of leaders in public policy, computer-science and technology including: Senior Policy Advisor of the White House Office on Science and Technology Policy, Dr. Knotakie Ford; Chief Digital Officer of the US Department of Education Lisa Gelobter; Assistant Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, Lauren Mims, spoke during the event in an effort especially curated to motivate and mobilize girls to consider computer science, coding and other STEAM fields as viable and reachable career paths. Also on hand was actress and education advocate, Tatyana Ali to discuss her association with the program. The GIRLS ROCK! TECH Summit guest speakers and program ambassadors offered motivational words and reflections on the unique ties between art and technology in their respective careers.
“I launched GIRLS ROCK! TECH because I believe it’s critical to give girls the tools needed to excel in the growing fields of coding and computational sciences,” said BLACK GIRLS ROCK! founder, Beverly Bond. “The inaugural GIRLS ROCK! TECH summit is designed to inspire girls of color to become leaders in this sector! I chose to focus on STEAM, because these fields offer girls the liberating and important opportunity to create, innovate and implement products or solutions that positively impact the world; but it is also a booming job market that needs to be diversified. Women and girls absolutely need to have a seat at the table when it comes to the tech revolution!”
Other participating partners included: the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, the City of Newark and the New Jersey Performance Arts Center. Other dynamos who joined the GIRLS ROCK! TECH summit were the American Association for the Advancement of Science Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation Dr. Quincy Brown; Computer Scientist, Technical Fields Designer and Professor (UCLA and Howard University) Dr. Jamika Burge; 2015 BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Making a Difference Girl, App Developer and Coder Kaya Thomas, 2016 BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Making a Difference Girl and MADE WITH CODE mentor Maya Penn. .
“Coding is the new literacy, and we believe Black women and girls should be at the forefront of innovation,” said Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Head of Google’s Black Community Engagement. “As Google drives inclusion as a company and as an industry, it’s important for girls to be inspired by a diverse group of women already coding today and it is in that spirit that we partner with Black Girls Rock! to bring Google’s Made with Code program to Newark!”
The 1st GIRLS ROCK! TECH summit was a success and many of the young girls in attendance left for the day with quite a bit more education and inspiration. For additional information about the GIRLS ROCK! TECH Summit please visit the Black Girls Rock website.